Scripps Howard News Service Looking to become more cultured and well-versed? Trying something new may be the riveting answer to your itch. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be a good way to find new interests, meet new people and appreciate life more. Plus, youíll have fun!
No one wants to look at life in hindsight and see the same thing every day. What are the stories that you want to tell your grandchildren? We doubt they involve slaving over spreadsheets or answering phones. Cultivating a memory can be as easy as a quick mental trip. Simply think about something you have thought would be exciting and cool to do, and start planning to do it.
Here are some tips on how to organize yourself to ensure that your new experience is fun, safe and memorable:
-- Be realistic: Before you dive in, honestly assess your current skills. Are you physically prepared to conquer Mount Everest? Do you think you can handle surfing a 50-foot wave? If you arenít quite ready for the big time, take a baby step. Hike a local mountain trail that you can complete in an afternoon or take a lesson in low surf. Not to put a damper on things, but you might want to check with your doctor before attempting any new activities that might require physical fitness.
-- Research: One of the best activities to increase the chances of first-time success is, unsurprisingly, research. Through research, you can test drive any activity vicariously. Watching someone paraglide online could give you a better understanding of the necessary body movements and posture -- and whether you will like it at all. Reading your favorite blog might give you inspiration to write your own. Free online tutorials for just about anything can be found with a simple search. Just be sure to put a limit on the time you spend researching. You donít want to spend so much time online that you never get to do the activity youíre dreaming of completing.
-- Create a materials checklist: Consult the experts and create a list of items that you will need. If you can, borrow what you need from a friend or family member. If you canít do that, be sure to just buy the essentials until you see how you like the activity.
-- Prepare for the worst possible outcome: This is not to say that you need to go out of your way to complete your living will, increase your insurance policy or say goodbye to loved ones, but it is smart to prepare for the worst possible outcome when trying something new. Is it your first time fishing in a boat? Wear a life vest. (For that matter, always wear a life vest whenever youíre out in a boat, fishing or not.) First time snowboarding? Bring extra padding and layers. Trust us: You will fall -- a lot. Cooking a complicated cuisine? Have a quick emergency fix in the fridge. Ironically, this step is likely to help you keep at your new activity until you have mastered it.
-- Get your materials ready the night before and arrive early (if applicable): Getting new-activity materials ready the night before is essential to preventing last-minute mix-ups. Pull together your outfit and hang it in your room. Pack the trunk of your car with any required equipment. If the activity that youíre planning to do has a meeting time, wake up early and plan to arrive sooner than you would for a usual meeting. Not only will an early arrival eliminate any extra stress that traffic might cause, youíll become more comfortable with your surroundings before you begin your new activity.The writers are co-founders of Buttoned Up, a company dedicated to helping stressed women get organized. Send ideas and questions to